Author's note: This is a darker side to SIH. Warning: Heartbreak, Cussing & Yaoi. Reviews welcomed, no reviews also welcomed. Disclaimer: I owned nothing of SIH but my own creation Nagasaki Raiu. I'm simply unleashing my imagination!
Chapter 1: Advent of the storm.
The elevator door opened on the 1st floor of Marukawa Shoten. Out stepped a tall lady with waist length black hair tied up tightly into a curvy ponytail on top of her head, with stripes of purple, blue and white highlights occasionally peeping through the black. She was ghostly fair, with over observing hazel brown coloured eyes behind thick black rimmed glasses. She had on multiple piercings on both her ears and a spike choker collar around her neck. She was wearing a pair of flowing black pants, a white v-shaped top, covered over a black ankle length coat. The thunderstorm was brewing in the distance when she entered the building. She could hear the wind howling through in a whisper.
Nagasaki Raiu. Cold and dark like the thunderstorm she was named after.
"Ah! Nagasaki-san! You made it! And in this dreadful weather too! How… apropos…", Isaka Ryuichiro, the director of Marukawa Shoten came around the corner to greet her. A full-fledged smile carved into his face, but interestingly enough, not quite reaching his eyes. His eyes are all-seeing. He may look charming but he is a hardcore businessman underneath all that façade. Raiu huh, he thought to himself as he looked outside the window to the brewing storm, this is going to be interesting.
I have to be careful with this one; Raiu thought to herself, he is not someone I intend to be on the wrong side of the fence with. Her intuition had never been wrong and she was both proud and wary of it.
She turned towards Marukawa Shoten's director's voice and plastered a similar charmingly professional smile onto her face; changing her entire demeanour from cold to warm instantly. She bowed low towards the director and shook hands with him before being led to a conference room nearby. A group of people came into the conference room as well, in her head, no doubt, the welcoming committee.
"I am Nagasaki Raiu. I am please to meet all of you. I hope to be able to work with you in the future." These dry but necessary introductions are a must, she thought, as she bowed her head low.
She found out that these people were the people she will be working closely by in the future; Yokozawa Takafumi from sales, Sasake Mori from printing and Takano Masamune, one of the editors of Emerald magazine, and the man she had been searching for, for years… Father… an unbidden thought came to mind.
Such a male dominated company though. We will soon change those pheromones, Raiu vowed silently while still putting up a smiling front for her future colleagues. I'm going to shake this place up so bad; you wouldn't know what storm just bit you in the ass. She chuckled inwardly at her own sadistic joke. Oh, she was a sadist alright and her colleagues will soon find that out as well.
"So, Nagasaki-san, this is… quite… a surprise. You are from Kadokawa Shoten, the top publishing company in Japan, yet you decided to apply for a post here in Marukawa Shoten. To top it off, you actually applied for the co-editor position for Emerald's shoujo manga! Why so?" Ryuichiro wasted no time interrogating me, she thought. His sly eyes moved around her, drinking her in, but not in a lewd sort of way like most men would, but shrewdly, calculatingly.
Strange… Men almost always find her… alluring… until she hit them. Oh but this is interesting, it is almost as if, he has no interest in women… He is sizing up my worth…
"Honestly speaking, if I may, I was dying of boredom with the same routine. I was speaking to a few colleagues who transferred to Kadokawa from Marukawa. Apparently they claimed to be under the coordination of Emerald but couldn't take the I quote "torture" unquote. Or so it seems. I heard Emerald's editor is a tough ass legend to work with." Raiu began, her voice lilting slightly on the edge of boredom. "I would very much like to challenge him".
"HAHAHAHA!" Ryuichiro bowled over laughing while the others had turned a slight shade of grey, except for one, who was glaring at her with such menace it was impossible not to sense the angst in the air. Interesting indeed this woman, he thought delightedly.
"What the hell…" Raiu started, irritated by the sudden laughing hyena in front of her, "Isaka-san, I mean you no disrespect, please do not look down on me,"
"I do apologize. No one has ever openly challenged the Editor in Chief of Emerald before," Ryuichiro gasped, still holding to his side which was hurting from laughing so much.
"I beg your pardon?" Raiu slowly said, feigning surprise. Her eyes roved around the room.
"Don't look at me," Takafumi said, his arms crossed, his face unreadable. "I'm not the one you should answer to," She has balls, I've to admit, or stupidity, he thought, women and their misplaced angst.
"D-Don't look at me either," Mori also said, his eyes darting away, beads of sweat dotting his forehead.
"Takano-san, do you accept this challenge?" Ryuichiro suddenly said, looking at the man who was sitting across from her. It suddenly dawned on her what this man's position was, and her open challenge felt like it had hit its spot. A slow curve of a smile formed on her lips. Her eyes glinted in an odd way.
"Challenge accepted! I haven't had much fun lately. Are you sure you are up to it, Nagasaki-san?" Masamune replied coldly, his eyes glared at her but his lips were smiling; a smile so evil it would even scare the worst of criminals away. What the hell is her problem, he thought coldly, why is this newbie provoking me?
"I've yet to meet someone who can make me cry, Takano-san. It's my pleasure to work with you," Raiu smiled in reply.
"My, my, you are a sadistic one, Nagasaki-san. Well, if that's the case, let's get to work! Ganbatte mina-san!" Ryuichiro clapped his hands together and the meeting was adjourned.
Raiu and Masamune walked towards the elevator in aloof silence, both cold and unwelcoming towards one other. Masamune pressed the 4th floor button and he showed her the shoujo manga department, directing her to a small office area filled to its brim with shoujo manga manuscripts and storyboards.
"Mina! This is Nagasaki-san. She is my new co-editor. Be nice," Masamune began half-heartedly, "Not". He added, "You can sit next to me, newbie, you might as well be my punching bag while you're at it,"
Please, you can't intimidate me with that male bullshit, Raiu said to herself, and turned to smile at her colleagues.
Raiu introduced herself to them. She found out that the short 30 year old something guy's name was Kisa Shouta. The quiet one, sitting across her was Hatori Yoshiyuki. The one who kept on smiling at her was Kanede Mino. Someone else was missing. Probably on an errand, Masamune had said. He said the name with such deadpanned distaste, she wondered if he hated the missing man, Onodera Ritsu.
As she took her seat and shuffled through the storyboards that had just been given to her by Masamune; someone, possibly about mid-twenties with brown hair, green emerald eyes and a slight feminine (this being how slender he is) build came rushing into the small office, carrying a manuscript in his hands, looking panicky, red and flustered.
"I'm sorry for taking so long Takano-san!" he frantically cried, shoving the manuscripts into Masamune's waiting hands.
"Onodera! You're late! Useless! How can you call yourself an editor!" Masamune shouted. Raiu looked up; a bitter taste was left in her mouth. She hated bullies and Masamune was no exception. She feigned disinterest and observed the commotion in front of her go on.
"I said I was sorry! I ran here all the way from sensei's house! There was an accident on the road!" the man replied, defensively. Ah, this man did have guts to stand up for himself after all, she thought, so this is Onodera Ritsu, how… interesting... He is so boyish looking… and so…. "OH! My apologies, I didn't realize, I'm s-sorry!"
"Nagasaki Raiu. It's a pleasure to meet you. I hope to work well with you in the future," Raiu stood, her height easily towering above the boyish man. She introduced herself without waiting for Masamune to give his introductions.
"N-nice, nice to meet you! I am Onodera Ritsu!" the man flustered again, bowing low. She is as tall as Takano-san is, he thought, flustered.
"Onodera, Nagasaki-san is my new co-editor, she has a lot of experience under her belt, please ask her for assistance as well in the future," Masamune cut in, feeling annoyed. She's defying me already, huh, he thought, I wonder what her deal is.
Ritsu looked up and saw both Takano-san and Nagasaki-san standing side by side, looking down –well, both of them ARE tall –at him. What is wrong with this picture, this combination is …. so…. scary…. he thought, they looked so intimidating and an unbidden image of his superiors involved in witchcraft and sacrificial rites sent a shudder up his spine.
Wait, I know this woman, he thought to himself as recognition dawned on him.
As he looked up, Raiu could see curiosity and what's that? Recognition? In his eyes? She narrowed her eyes and he quickly averted his gaze to look downwards again, his face was as red as blood. Masamune sighed suddenly and what happened next caught her off guard. Masamune ruffled Ritsu's hair, and what was that look? It was so… affectionate… as he whispered "Good work, Ritsu!" She doubted either Takano-san or Onodera-san noticed that she was witnessing this personal exchange.
A slight smile curved on her lips as she saw Ritsu's cheeks inflamed further. Ah, is this what I think it is…. she thought to herself and returned to her work, her mind working up all manner of plots and plans. Masamune and Ritsu had both returned to their seats as well. Takano-san had called Onodera-san by his first name, she mused, they must be extremely close for Takano-san to address Onodera-san as such.
"Umm.. Nagasaki-san, do you mind me asking?" Ritsu suddenly asked, coming to his senses once Masamune was out of physical touching shot.
Raiu looked up across to him, curiosity colouring her oddly coloured eyes and she narrowed them again. Why is this man who must be no more than 25 years old asking me questions… The others stopped to stare at the both of them, eyes filled with curiosity.
"Aren't you Usami Akihiko's editor? A few years back?"
A collective awestruck gasp came up.
"How did you know?" How he knew indeed, she thought, as she rested her cheek on her left opened palm.
"Well, as I worked with Onodera Publishing a few years back, and before Usami-sensei published his books under us, he used to published his books under Kadokawa Shoten as well," Ritsu began, slightly flustered. Why is she looking at me like that? It's like she could see right through my soul…
"Ahh… You're the famed heir to the Onodera empire, I see… Now I know why you looked so familiar. You looked very much like you father,"
"Ahh.. No.. No.. Well, Yes, but my point is, I am very much in awe of you!"
And Ritsu blurted it out so enthusiastically, everyone gasped out loud.
"Ehhh?" Takano-san screeched, highly unexpected from someone with such a deep voice. "Onodera?"
"You see Takano-san, Nagasaki-san is-is known as the Storm. She's the only one who could get Usami-sensei to hand in his manuscripts on time. It was rumoured that Nagasaki-san once threaten to break Usami-sensei's personal helper's arm in a rage if he didn't finish the manuscripts!" Ritsu blurted, his eyes shining.
"EHHHHHH?" Everybody within hearing distance screeched.
"Eh- Ummm… I'm sorry Nagasaki-san!" Ritsu, once more bowed so low, his words flew past his thoughts before he could stop himself. I should've kept my mouth shut!
Raiu smiled and laughed. She had the kind of laugh that didn't quite sound right, as if tinted by a shadow of discordance. Her lips curved to one-side, lifted in one corner as she eyed Ritsu with interest from a slight angle of her head. This man, no, this boy pretending so hard to be a man, he is interesting. Masamune saw the interested look Raiu had given Ritsu. Not another one… he thought in disgust, I'm going to kill Ritsu for this! And what's with that laugh! She sounded so… jaded…
"You flatter me. I do not remember threatening to break the helper's arm. However, I remembered that he actually broke his right leg soon after the rage. I believe Misaki-kun tripped on the stairs of his own accord, but Usami-sensei believed otherwise. Hahaha! Served my lucky stars though as he never argued with me after that," a slightly cruel smile curved around her lips echoing her laughter. Unsurprisingly, everyone inched further away from her.
"Usami-sensei never finishes work on time, I think after awhile he feared so much for Misaki-kun's safety that he began publishing his works elsewhere which was fine by me as well. No one has ever pulled my temper so much as Usami-sensei did," Raiu reminisced, unperturbed by the disturbed looks people were giving her.
"Shit, you're a bloody sadist you are," Masamune said, giving her the evil eye and smiling. She might prove useful after all, he thought, devising plans in his head as the department got back to work.
Raiu smiled. And you're going to find out how much of a sadist I truly am, Takano-san, she thought quietly, eyeing the handsome man sitting adjacent to her.